Monday, December 27, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

The True Story of Rudolph

The True Story of Rudolph
A man named Bob May, depressed and brokenhearted, stared out his drafty apartment window into the chilling December night.

His 4-year-old daughter Barbara sat on his lap quietly sobbing. Bob's wife, Evelyn, was dying of cancer Little Barbara couldn't understand why her mommy could never come home. Barbara looked up into her dad's eyes and asked, "Why isn't Mommy just like everybody else's Mommy?" Bob's jaw tightened and his eyes welled with tears. Her question brought waves of grief, but also of anger. It had been the story of Bob's life. Life always had to be different for Bob.

Small when he was a kid, Bob was often bullied by other boys. He was too little at the time to compete in sports. He was often called names he'd rather not remember. From childhood, Bob was different and never seemed to fit in. Bob did complete college, married his loving wife and was grateful to get his job as a copywriter at Montgomery Ward during the Great Depression. Then he was blessed with his little girl. But it was all short-lived. Evelyn's bout with cancer stripped them of all their savings and now Bob and his daughter were forced to live in a two-room apartment in the Chicago slums. Evelyn died just days before Christmas in 1938.

Bob struggled to give hope to his child, for whom he couldn't even afford to buy a Christmas gift. But if he couldn't buy a gift, he was determined to make one - a storybook! Bob had created an animal character in his own mind and told the animal's story to little Barbara to give her comfort and hope. Again and again Bob told the story, embellishing it more with each telling. Who was the character? What was the story all about? The story Bob May created was his own autobiography in fable form. The character he created was a misfit outcast like he was. The name of the character? A little reindeer named Rudolph, with a big shiny nose. Bob finished the book just in time to give it to his little girl on Christmas Day. But the story doesn't end there.

The general manager of Montgomery Ward caught wind of the little storybook and offered Bob May a nominal fee to purchase the rights to print the book. Wards went on to print,_ Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer_ and distribute it to children visiting Santa Claus in their stores. By 1946 Wards had printed and distributed more than six million copies of Rudolph. That same year, a major publisher wanted to purchase the rights from Wards to print an updated version of the book.

In an unprecedented gesture of kindness, the CEO of Wards returned all rights back to Bob May. The book became a best seller. Many toy and marketing deals followed and Bob May, now remarried with a growing family, became wealthy from the story he created to comfort his grieving daughter. But the story doesn't end there either.

Bob's brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, made a song adaptation to Rudolph. Though the song was turned down by such popular vocalists as Bing Crosby and Dinah Shore , it was recorded by the singing cowboy, Gene Autry.  "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" was released in 1949 and became a phenomenal success, selling more records than any other Christmas song, with the exception of "White Christmas."

The gift of love that Bob May created for his daughter so long ago kept on returning back to bless him again and again. And Bob May learned the lesson, just like his dear friend Rudolph, that being different isn't so bad. In fact, being different can be a blessing.        

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Aussie Jingle Bells

I belong to a wonderful group of crafters and one of the members shared this charmer this morning!
Australian Jingle Bells
Dashing through the bush,
In a rusty Holden Ute,
Kicking up the dust,
Esky in the boot,
Kelpie by my side,
Singing Christmas songs,
It's summer time and I am in
My singlet, shorts and thongs

Oh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
Christmas in Australia on a scorching summers day, Hey!
Jingle bells, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut!,
Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden Ute.

Engine's getting hot;
We dodge the kangaroos,
The swaggie climbs aboard,
He is welcome too.
All the family's there,
Sitting by the pool,
Christmas Day the Aussie way,
By the barbecue.

Oh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
Christmas in Australia on a scorching summers day, Hey!
Jingle bells, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut!,
Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden Ute.

Come the afternoon,
Grandpa has a doze,
The kids and Uncle Bruce,
Are swimming in their clothes.
The time comes 'round to go,
We take the family snap,
Pack the car and all shoot through,
Before the washing up.

Oh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
Christmas in Australia on a scorching summers day, Hey!
Jingle bells, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut!,
Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden Ute ...

Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden Ute!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Merry Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas & out on the ranch
The pond was froze over & so was the branch.
The snow was piled up belly-deep to a mule.
The kids were all home on vacation from school,
And happier young folks you never did see-
Just all sprawled around a-watchin' TV.
Then suddenly, some time around 8 o'clock,
There came a surprise that gave them a shock!
The power went off, the TV went dead!
When Grandpa came in from out in the shed
With an armload of wood, the house was all dark.
"Just what I expected," they heard him remark.
"Them power line wires must be down from the snow.
Seems sorter like times on the ranch long ago."
"I'll hunt up some candles," said Mom.  "With their light,
And the fireplace, I reckon we'll make out all right."
The teen-agers all seemed enveloped in gloom.
Then Grandpa came back from a trip to his room,
Uncased his old fiddle & started to play
That old Christmas song about bells on a sleigh.
Mom started to sing, & 1st thing they knew
Both Pop & the kids were all singing it, too.
They sang Christmas carols, they sang "Holy Night,"
Their eyes all a-shine in the ruddy firelight.
They played some charades Mom recalled from her youth,
And Pop read a passage from God's Book of Truth.
They stayed up till midnight-and, would you believe,
The youngsters agreed 'twas a fine Christmas Eve.
Grandpa rose early, some time before dawn;
And when the kids wakened, the power was on..
"The power company sure got the line repaired quick,"
Said Grandpa - & no one suspected his trick.
Last night, for the sake of some old-fashioned fun,
He had pulled the main switch - the old Son-of-a-Gun!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Blogger Caroling

The Footnote Maven has invited us to join her in Blog Caroling!

I am so excited! I haven't been caroling since I was 16 years old! [And that's more years than is any of your bees wax! Or as the kids say today "nunya".]

I've put on my long johns under my caroling costume. [I thought it would be fun to carol in 19th century costume!]

My bonnet is firmly attached. My capelet on. My wool stockings. And my hands in my muff!


Here we go!!!

"Here we come a-caroling among the leaves so green;
Here we come a-wand'ring so fair to be seen.
Love and joy come to you.
And to you glad Christmas too.
And God bless you and send you a Happy New Year.
And God send you a Happy New Year.

We are not daily beggars that beg from door to door.
But we are neighbors' children whom you have seen before.
Love and joy come to you.
And to you glad Christmas too.
And God bless you and send you a Happy New Year.
And God send you a Happy New Year.

God bless the master of this house, likewise the mistress too.
And all the little children that round the table go.
Love and joy come to you.
And to you glad Christmas too.
And God bless you and send you a Happy New Year.
And God send you a Happy New Year. "

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: December 13 - Holiday Travel

December 13 - Holiday Travel

Did you or your ancestors travel anywhere for Christmas? How did you travel and who traveled with you? Do you remember any special trips?

As far as I know... my ancestors spent their Christmas' at home.

We did travel on two Chraistmas' that I can recall. One Christmas with my Grandma Beane in West Virginia before she moved in with us [about 1963 or 1964] and one with my Grandma and Grandpa Dreher in 1969. As always, we traveled by car to spend Christmas with each one.

The first one [in 1963 or 1964] at Grandma Beane's, I only have vague recollections of.

I do remember that late the first night we were there my Uncle Edsel arrived, and he had grown quite a beard. He was a very young man then [about 24 or so]. His beard, like my Daddy's, was red. Well... my parents and he decided that since he had a beard he could play Santa Clause for us [my little sister and I].

I remember that I knew who he was the instant I saw him! And I laughed and squealed with delight as he was much fun! But Eydie [my baby sister... who was about 2 at the time] screamed bloody murder! And she wouldn't stop screaming!

Finally in desperation... Uncle Edsel went into the kitchen, heated water [Grandma didn't have running water] and shaved off his beard. The instant the beard was gone... poor little Eydie stopped screaming! [I tease her about that today!!!]

Of course... someplace... locked away in a safe place... there is a photo of Eydie screaming at the top of her lungs sitting on Santa's knee one Christmas shopping trip. I am on the other knee... smiling quite contentedly!

But I won't be totally mean and show that! [tee-hee]

Aren't Christmas memories so much fun?

This post is a part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" meme created in 2007 by Thomas and Jasia. You, too, can write your own Christmas memories, either for your personal journal or blog. Visit Geneabloggers to participate and to read others' posts on these topics.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: December 12 - Charitable/ Volunteer Work


Did your family ever volunteer with a charity such as a soup kitchen, homeless or battered women's shelter during the holidays? Or perhaps were your ancestors involved with church groups that assisted others during the holidays?

While my family did not volunteer with any particular charitable organization, they did nonetheless help with those who were less fortunate each year, both at Thanksgiving and again at Christmas.

The work was usually done through our local church, which sometimes joined with several churches, in order to make a larger impact on the community at large.

Food drives were started well in advance in order to provide each needy household with a canned ham and trimmings for Christmas. Ages and clothing sizes were passed out to individuals who then became responsible for supplying that particular person with a good Christmas. [Usually one outfit of warm winter clothing, and toys for the children.]

As a child, my Mother always had us take our "extra" toys at Thanksgiving to the local fire department who performed toys drives. They took gently used toys, cleaned them up, and gave them out to less fortunate children for Christmas. In this way, everyone got nice toys for Christmas.

It became a way for us to clear out our toy chest to make way for the new toys Santa would be bringing us in a month! The back of Mother's car was almost always filled by the time we got to the fire department! And it was a wonderful way for us to learn charity while still youngsters.

This post is a part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" meme created in 2007 by Thomas and Jasia. You, too, can write your own Christmas memories, either for your personal journal or blog. Visit Geneabloggers to participate and to read others' posts on these topics.

Sentimental Sunday

Machinist Mate Walter Maxwell Beane
and PFC Lois Velleda Dreher

12 December 1958

The Presidio Chapel
Presidio, San Francisco, California

My parents on their wedding day.

Happy 52nd Wedding Anniversary to the BEST Parents in the World!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sick In Bed

Bad cold and cough.
Muscle Aches.

Back when I am feeling better...

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: December 11 - Other Traditions


Did your family or friends also celebrate other traditions during the holidays such as Hanukkah or Kwanzaa? Did you immigrant ancestors have holiday traditions from their native country which they retained or perhaps abandoned?

If my family had any traditions brought with them from the old country [Germany and France] they have long ago been lost and I have never learned of them.

We did not celebrate any other type of holiday traditions or celebrations during this season.

What about your family?

This post is a part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" meme created in 2007 by Thomas and Jasia. You, too, can write your own Christmas memories, either for your personal journal or blog. Visit Geneabloggers to participate and to read others' posts on these topics.

Surname Saturday - Riffe

Cynthia Ann BEANE was born in New Albany, Floyd Co., IN. She was the daughter
of 2. Walter Maxwell BEANE and 3. Lois Velleda DREHER. She married Johnnie Lee HENRY in Covington, Alleghany Co., VA, son of Joseph Wright HENRY and Betty Louise Rotge. He
was born in San Antonio, Bexar Co, TX.

son of 4. John Monroe BEAN and 5. Mary Elizabeth FAUDREE. He married Lois Velleda DREHER
in Presidio of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA.
of 6. Henry Condar DREHER Jr. and 7. Irene Caroline BANET.

Waiteville, Monroe Co., WV. He was the son of 8. William McHarvey BEAN and 9. Margaret Smith
PERKINS. He married Mary Elizabeth FAUDREE on 01 Dec 1935 in Covington, Alleghany County, Virginia.
5. Mary Elizabeth FAUDREE was born on 03 Jun 1897 in Monroe County, West Virginia. SHe was the daughter of 10. Stephen Ledford FAUDREE and 11. Elizabeth CARNEFIX.

He died on 14 May 1890 in Gap Mills, Monroe Co, WV. He was the son of 16. William M. BEAN and
17. Rachel WISEMAN. He married Margaret Smith PERKINS on 26 Aug 1852 in Monroe County,
1891 in Monroe County, West Virginia. She was the daughter of 18. Samuel PERKINS and 19.

Greenbrier, Virginia. He was the son of 36. James PERKINS and 37. Elizabeth BONDERANT. He
married Elizabeth TUCKWILLER on 15 Sep 1812 in Greenbrier County, Virginia.
in Greenbrier County, Virginia. She was the daughter of 38. John TUCKWILLER and 39. Catherine

County, Virginia. He was the son of 76. Thomas TUCKWILLER and 77. Sabina UNKNOWN. He
married Catherine RIFFE about 1777.
County, Virginia. She was the daughter of 78. Jacob RIFFE and 79. Catherine UNKNOWN.

156. John Jacob RIFFE and 157. Unknown. He married Catherine UNKNOWN.

John Jacob RIFFE. He died about 1756 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He married Unknown.Unknown.
Jacob RIFFE was born in 1722. He died in 1790 in Greenbrier County, Virginia. He was the son ofCatherine UNKNOWN.
John TUCKWILLER was born in 1752 in Virginia. He died on 18 Feb 1832 in Rich Hollow, GreenbrierCatherine RIFFE was born 1762 in Pennsylvania. She died 01 Sep 1823 in Rich Hollow, Greenbrier
Samuel PERKINS was born on 21 Apr 1778 in Virginia. He died on 19 Jan 1854 in Fort Springs,Elizabeth TUCKWILLER was born 08 Nov 1779 in Greenbrier County, Virginia. She died 28 Jul 1867
William McHarvey BEAN was born on 26 Aug 1832 in Dropping Lick, Near Zenith, Monroe Co, VA.Margaret Smith PERKINS was born 03 Mar 1826 in Greenbrier County, Virginia. She died 11 Jun
John Monroe BEAN was born on 15 Dec 1866 in Cincinatti, Ohio. He died on 10 Apr 1954 in
Walter Maxwell BEANE was born in Waiteville, Monroe County, WV. He was theLois Velleda DREHER was in Georgetown, Floyd Co., IN. She was the daughter

Friday, December 10, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: December 10 - Christmas Gifts


What were your favorite gifts, both to receive and to give? Are there specific gift-giving traditions among your family or ancestors?

I can't think of any specific traditions in my family or ancestor's gift-giving.

My favorite gifts received???

Well, I have always been partial to something that someone made with their own hands, especially for me. A sweater, a scarf, slippers, a cap, etc. These are things I know they had to stop and consider me personally for. ANd they are things in which they actually put something of themselves into. Who could NOT love those kinds of gifts?

With that in mind, those are also the kinds of gifts I love to give. Something I put together using my own two hands. Whether that's a loaf of nut bread, or knit socks, or a crocheted afghan. I feel like when I have made it myself, I have truly given from the heart!

This post is a part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" meme created in 2007 by Thomas and Jasia. You, too, can write your own Christmas memories, either for your personal journal or blog. Visit Geneabloggers to participate and to read others' posts on these topics.

Family Recipe Friday - Grandma Bean's Baked Custard

Mary Faudree Bean
1897 - 1975

When I was only 5 years old, my Grandmother came to live with us. If I could say anyone "taught" me much about cooking, it would have to be her.

She was a cook from necessity. Having raised a family during the depression, she knew how to scrimp and save everything imaginable!

Today we think dessert has to a rich and gooey extravaganza! But Grandma knew how to take eggs, sugar and cream and make the most delectable of desserts!

Egg Custard!

Grandma Bean's Egg Custard

4 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional
3 cups milk, heated until very hot
Ground nutmeg or ground cinnamon for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Adjust oven rack to center position. Lightly butter (or I have used non-fat vegetable spray) six (6-ounce) custard cups and set them into a large baking dish. If cooking custards in a metal pan, cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of newspaper to ensure an even temperature on the bottom.

In a large bowl, beat eggs slightly; add sugar, vanilla extract, and salt and beat until dissolved. Mix in hot milk until blended. Pour egg mixture into prepared custard cups. Sprinkle with nutmeg or cinnamon.

Bring the water for the water bath to a light simmer on top of the stove; carefully pour hot water into the baking pan to come half-way up the sides of the custard cups. NOTE: The most common mistake people make in baking a custard is not putting enough water in the hot-water bath. The water should come up to the level of the custard inside the cups. You must protect your custard from the heat. Carefully pour hot water into the baking pan to come halfway up the sides of the custard cups.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until set around the edges but still loose in the center. The cooking time will depend largely on the size of the custard cup you are using, but begin checking at 20 minutes and check back regularly. When the center of the custard is just set, it will jiggle a little when shaken, that's when you can remove it from the oven. Remove from oven and immediately remove cups from water bath; cool on wire rack until room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Makes 6 servings (depending on size of custard cups).

This is by far the best dessert you could ever have!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: December 9 - Grab Bag


Author's choice. Please post from a topic that helps you remember Christmases past.

Christmas 2009
Chris, Cyndi, Kaylee and Nana

Last year was the very first year I was involved ina  four generation photograph in which I wasn't the one holding the infant.

The new baby, Kaylee, wasn't my first grandchild... but she was the first where we actually got a four generation photograph!

It was a bit of a strange sensation to be the "Grandma" in the photo! I mean... I look at this photo and I don't see two old grandmother's here! And yet, that's Mom and I there!

From the left is my eldest son, Chris. Married with three beautiful girls. That's me holding Chris' youngest, Kaylee, born 11 Nov. 2009. And that's my Mother on the right.

Christmas is a great time, as family gathers near, to get some of those much longed for photographs! Keep your camera in hand though! Those shots are fleeting and you want to be ready! You might want to get a pocket sized digital camera. Guys can drop it in their shirt pocket. Gals can put it in their apron pocket, or even their slacks pocket, making it accessible for a quick photo!

Treasure Chest Thursday - Two Brothers

Edsel Ford Beane and Walter Maxwell Beane
About 1960.

Sons of John Monroe Bean, Sr. [1866 - 1954] and Mary Elizabeth Faudree [1897-1975].

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: December 8 - Christmas Cookies


Did you family or ancestors make Christmas Cookies? How did you help? Did you have a favorite cookie?

As far as I know, my ancestors didn't go all out and bake regularly for Christmas. However, Mother did on occasion make whatever kind of drop cookie [does not require rolling out or cutting!] cookie she could think of during the holidays. [You'd have to know my Mother.... she was never very good in the kitchen... and I say that very lovingly!] And Mother usually preferred kitchen work on her own... not sharing the duty with us. As we got a bit older, she would totally relinquish any kitchen duties to my sister and I, and we did bake some kind of cookie every year.

The one cookie I never made that I truly loved.... Gingerbread men! And I do mean REAL gingerbread!!! The kind that leaves a bit of a tingle on the pallett! All decorated up with a smile on their face and buttons down the front! THOSE were MY favorites! [Still are!]

What about you?

This post is a part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" meme created in 2007 by Thomas and Jasia. You, too, can write your own Christmas memories, either for your personal journal or blog. Visit Geneabloggers to participate and to read others' posts on these topics.

Wordless Wednesday

Mary Faudree Bean,
Daisy Miller Baker [infant unknown]
Richard [Dick] Baker

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: December 7 - Holiday Parties


Did your family throw a holiday party each year? Do you remember attending any holiday parties?

My parents didn't throw a Christmas party every year.

Growing up in a very strict southern Baptist home, alcohol was never allowed. However, Christmas parties were always planned by the church.

There was usually a Sunday School Class Christmas party, where wwe all got together with our fellow classmates. We played games. Had lively Christmas refreshments, and exchanged Christmas gifts!

And then there was usually a church dinner to celebrate the holidays, usually the last Sunday before Christmas.

There were, of course, Christmas parties at school. Usually each class held their own party the last day before the holiday break. Refreshments were served and we all exchanged gifts.

As an adult, and no longer affiliated with a particular denomination, I have held a couple of parties. And have attended a few as well. Provided no one gets a bit tipsy and out of control, I really enjoy them. Perhaps I should think about having one next year, since I haven't planned one for this year! Something to think on! LOL

What about you?

Tombstone Tuesday - Zane Grey

Pearl "Zane" Grey

The following is taken from FindAGrave:
Birth: Jan. 31, 1875
Death: Oct. 23, 1939


Born in Zanesville, Ohio, in 1896, as Pearl Grey,  he graduated from dental school at the University of Pennsylvania and moved to New York City where he opened an office.

His first book "Betty Zane" was turned down by several publishers so in 1904 he published it privately. It was a great success. In 1908 he made his first trip to the Western United States and began writing stories about the Old West. His best known Western was "Riders of the Purple Sage" published in 1912. It sold over twelve million copies and was made into a movie three times. He moved to California and spent his life writing.

During his lifetime sixty of his works were published with almost that many more published after his death. He sold over seventeen million books and is known as a pioneer in literature's Western genre.

He became the first American author millionaire.

He died in Altadena, California. (bio by: Bigwoo)

1872 - 1939
1883 - 1957

Lackawaxen and Union Cemetery
Lackawaxen, Pike County, Pennsylvania
[Burial place of Zane Grey]

Monday, December 6, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: December 6 - Santa Claus


Did you ever send a letter to Santa? Did you ever visit Santa and "make a list"? Do you still believe in Santa Claus?

Yes, I used to visit Santa! Up until I was about 10 years old! [About that time I got to be as big as the Santa's! I grew physically really fast! By the time I was 12 I was 5'10"!]

I can remember getting up on Santa's knee and snuggling close to him and whispering in his ear what I wanted for Christmas. I never made a list to take to him, though! I guess I was never so greedy as to wish for a whole bunch of things. I simply asked for three or four, and I was ecstatic when I got those things on Christmas morning!

Do I still believe in Santa Claus???

Of course I do! As a matter of fact, ask my dear grandson about him! Why, just this past night while we all slept, Santa's elves sneaked into our home and left a letter just for sweet little Jacob to find. It was a letter written by Santa himself!!!

Needless to say, we were all excited when we found the envelope this morning! And I was really disappointed.... cuz Santa didn't leave write me a letter, too!

But then... maybe he's just waiting to bring me that something special on Christmas Eve instead!!!

Madness Monday

My dear Mother-In-Law passed from this life on July 5th, 2003. I was at her bedside as she drew her last breath.

Born 30 August 1930 in Kerrville, Kerr, Texas, she was the daughter of John Cornelius ROTGE  [1910 - 1983] and Ora Lee SPARKS [1914-1982].

However, there has been much speculation as to Betty's name. Her birth certificate states she is Betty Louise ROTGE. Yet throughout much of her life she is found listed as Betty Louise LANGFORD.

It appears that not long after Betty was born, her mother and father divorced. Betty was sent to live with her Grandmother, Laura May CLEMENTS [1890-1969].  Laura May was at that time married to her third husband, a man named Jack LANGFORD. Little Betty believed for several years that her Grandmother and Jack were her parents, and set about going by the only name she knew. LANGFORD.

In 1947, when she was only 16, Betty married Joseph Wright HENRY [1927-1993]. On this marriage record she gives her name as Betty Louise ROTGE. And when her first child is born in 1949, she states her maiden name was ROTGE. But by the time her second son is born in 1951, she again states her maiden name was LANGFORD.

It appears that Betty chose which name was her maiden name with the whim fo the moment.

I suspect many such incidents occurred throughout history for many individuals.

It behooves us to pursue every surname an ancestor might have used in order to locate them in records. Including a step-parents last name for children of blended marriages!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: December 5 - Outdoor Decorations

DECEMBER 5 - Outdoor Decorations

Did people in your neighborhood decorate with lights? Did some people really "go all out" when decorating? Any stories involving your ancestors and decorations?

As a kid growing up, Mama put up some outdoor lights. But never many. Daddy was gone in the Navy most of the time, and it was difficult to get the lights up and then back down on her own. She did often put them around the windows and doors so we had some lights up.

Years later, after I left home, they purchased a large nativity set that lit up and sat in the yard.

Some neighbors did in fact, go all out! Some had complicated mechanical animations in their yards! [This was way back in the day when you couldn't just go buy those things, but had to build them yourself if you wanted them!]

I remember one neighbor when I was about ten who had a giant "Jack-In-The-Box" in his yard! The box was a large gaily Christmas wrapped box, and music would play, and when it reached a certain part of the song [I think it was "Jingle Bells"] this giant Santa would pop up out of the box when the lid opened! As the song continued, Santa slowly sank back into the box and the lid closed. You can imagine all the children of the neighborhood were agog at that one!

Texican and I have never put up any outdoor lights. That is until this year. We just have a simgle strand around our porch railing. But I love it!!! It certainly seems more festive!

What about you?

Sentimental Sunday

Trying to locate our ancestors is often frustrating work.

So far, I've located my great-great-grandfather but once in the Census records of Louisville, KY. I did very recently locate his immigration into this country, in 1852.

One reason it can sometimes be difficult to locate those family members is when there is a name that may seem difficult to spell or pronounce. In this case, the ancestor is Gottleib Dreher.

On line 10 of the above Census record, we find Gautlipe Traiuer. You see what I mean? If not for his wife Sarah and son August, I might never have located him!

In order to locate this record, I had to do a city-wide search for all individuals named August. Well... it wasn't a one-day search! In 1860, Louisville, KY was a widely known German immigration haven, with literally thousands of Bavarians making their way to the river-front city. And if not for the fact that August's mother, Sarah, was listed with the family, I might have overlooked this entry.

We must remember to always look for the exact, but never forget to look for the abstract as well. You might be surprised at what you turn up!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: December 4 - Christmas Cards

December 4 - Christmas Cards

Did your family send cards? Did your family display the ones they received? Do you still send Christmas cards? Do you have any cards from your ancestors?

As I was growing up, my Mother was the Christmas Card Queen!!! She sent out hundreds of Christmas cards every year! As she grew older this dwindled down a bit, and now at 72 she send out about  a hundred every year.

As I grew up and moved away on my own, I began sending cards as well. But never on the grand scale as my mother did! I seldom sent more than about 40 or 50 cards in a single year. And now I've dropped off to the point of just to family [siblings] and neices and nephews.

Mother always displayed her Christmas cards. And as many as Mother sent, that's about how many she recieved! One year, she had them strung in multiple lines across the ceiling of our home in Norfolk, Virginia. And it was a very high Cathedral ceiling! There were multiple strands of cards criss-crossing the room! They were beautiful! I've seen her place them across the mantle, and around the windows and doors,

I continue to display the cards I receive, which are few these days. I have a lovely tin pail that is designed to hold them. It is punched with the words "Merry Christmas" on it's front. You can't see all of the cards at a glance, you must take them out of the pail to look at each one. But I love it, as my home is quite small, so this way of displaying works well for me.

I have a scrap book [someplace] that contains all of the cards I ever received from my grandparents. So I do have some Christmas cards I received from them. But I don't have any other cards from ancestors. But I treasure those from my grandparents!

This post is a part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" meme created in 2007 by Thomas and Jasia. You, too, can write your own Christmas memories, either for your personal journal or blog. Visit Geneabloggers to participate and to read others' posts on these topics.

Surname Saturday - Dreher

Surname Saturday - Dreher

Today let's take another look at my Dreher ancestry....

of 2. Walter Maxwell BEANE and 3. Lois Velleda DREHER. She married Johnnie Lee HENRY  in Covington, Alleghany Co., VA, son of Joseph Wright HENRY and Betty Louise Rotge. He
was born  in San Antonio, Bexar Co, TX.

son of 4. John Monroe BEAN and 5. Mary Elizabeth FAUDREE. He married Lois Velleda DREHER
in Presidio of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA.
of 6. Henry Condar DREHER Jr. and 7. Irene Caroline BANET.

17 May 1977 in Indiana. He was the son of 12. Henry Condar DREHER and 13. Josephine Sophie
Benzel. He married Irene Caroline BANET on 12 Dec 1923 in Indiana.
Monroe Co., WV. She was the daughter of 14. Francis Isidore Banet and 15. Adeline Josephine EVE.

Jan 1925 in Louisville, Jefferson Kentucky. He was the son of 24. Gottlieb DREHER and 25. Sarah
HUNSINGER. He married Josephine Sophie Benzel on 11 Aug 1884.
Jefferson, KY. She was the daughter of 26. John Benzel and 27. Wilhelmina Lambrecht.

Kentucky. He married Sarah HUNSINGER.
Jefferson, Kentucky.

And this was as far as we had gotten for many years. We had always thought [due to family lore] that the family came from Dusseldorf, and Grandpa often stated so. However, the 1860 Census [the only document which has been found that might lead some credence thusfar] states they came from Baden.

This week we discovered the passenger list containing Gottleib Dreher's name on arriving to this country.

["Gottlob" Dreher line 6]

Arriving 30 Sep 1852 in New York City via London, Gottleib is stated to have been arriving simply from "Germany".

There are actually several Gottleib Dreher's arriving at nearly the same time in this country. So how can we be certain we have the correct one?

Passenger #5 is listed as George HUNSINGER. You will note in the above ahnentahfel that Gottleib's wife's name is Sarah HUNSINGER. It certainly seems more than a coincidence that that two names are found here accompanying one another.

At long last... Gottleib has arrived!!!
Gottlieb DREHER was born in 1827 in Baden, Germany. He died in Jan 1893 in Jefferson County,Sarah HUNSINGER was born 1829 in Alsace, Germany. She died 15 Sep 1900 in Louisville,
Josephine Sophie Benzel was born 21 Jul 1865 in Indiana. She died 12 Dec 1932 in Louisville,
Henry Condar DREHER was born on 15 Jan 1863 in Louisville, Jefferson, Kentucky. He died on 29
Henry Condar DREHER Jr. was born on 31 Dec 1902 in Louisville, Jefferson, Kentucky. He died onIrene Caroline BANET was born 24 May 1906 in Indiana. She died 08 Aug 1989 in Gap Mills,
Walter Maxwell BEANE was born in Waiteville, Monroe County, WV. He was theLois Velleda DREHER was born in Georgetown, FLoyd Co., IN. She was the daughter
Cynthia Ann BEANE was born in New Albany, Floyd Co., IN. She was the daughter

Friday, December 3, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: December 3 - Christmas Tree Ornaments

Did your family have heirloom or cherished ornaments? Did you ever string popcorn and cranberries? Did your family or ancestors make Christmas ornaments?

Every year Mama unpacked her beautiful creche and placed it lovingly beneath the tree. It was, and still is, her most cherished Christmas ornament I suppose.

As a child, my favorite ornaments were those mercury glass ornaments that Mama had packed away in tissue paper!

I don't think there was ever a year when in the unpacking we didn't find at least one ornament that had been broken however! Some of them were so fragile that I believe simply breathing on them caused damage!

They came in a myriad of shapes and sizes from these bells, to Santa figures, and oblong icicles! None of the ornaments were especially old. Although today they would be considered heirloom perhaps! [But then I am told I am now considered "an antique"! LOL]

We did string popcorn and cranberries on occasion when I was growing up. But Mama always said it attracted mice, so we didn't do it each year. However, when my own children were very young, the only ornaments we had for our tree were the ones that my Mama bought for the children each year [she made sure they each had a special ornament from the time of their birth to the time they left home!] It made for a rather huge tree once they were all in their teens! [There's five of the children!]

But in those early years, we made garlands of both popcorn and cranberries, simply for the economical decision to keep expenses down.

It was such fun! And the children loved it! [However, there were occasions when I found popcorn missing from garland, and often wondered if it were mice, or tender little angels who attacked the tree!]

Did we ever make handmade ornaments?

I don't think I have ever seen any handmade ornaments by my ancestors, but I have personally handmade many, both as a child growing up, and then as an adult.

In 2004 I had a Christmas tree done entirely in crocheted garland and crocheted snowflakes for the tree. The only other decorations were white lights. It looked like a winter wonderland!

This year I've made ancestral portraits a part of the tree, and call it my "Generations" tree!

These lovely acrylic frames were a birthday gift from my dear sister, Eydie, this year, especially for my ancestral tree.

Here's a closer view of my great-grandparents, Frank and Adeline Banet [my maternal grandmother's parents].

There were enough of these frames that I got every photo we had of direct ancestors, plus our parents, siblings, and our children, AND our grandchildren on this tree!

The tree is covered in them! And they are simply lovely! I adore it! So... I am hoping to be able to pass these ornaments onto one of my grandchildren one day!

Family Recipe Friday - Grandpa's Pork Chops

Henry Condar Dreher, Jr.

His grandparents came from Germany. He once told me from Dusseldorf, and while the Dreher name is largely known in that fair city, I have been unable to determine if that is exactly where they came from or not.

I do know that in their home, only "High-German" was ever spoken, and nothing brought Grandpa more pleasure than speaking the "native tongue", even though he'd never set foot on German soil.

Good Bavarian cooking was plentiful in his household. And until he died, no meal was complete without meat and potatoes.

Here is one recipe that I remember my Grandma Dreher cooking for Grandpa on a regular basis. This is one I certainly miss, since I can no longer eat pork. The smells eminating from the oven when this is roasting are pure heaven to me, and never fail to transport me back to Grandma's warm kitchen, and brighter days!

6- medium thick center cut pork chops
1 large jar of sauerkraut [do not use canned!]
4 large potatoes - peeled and cut into bite sized chunks
1 cup brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit.
Lightly braise pork chops on both sides in a non-stick skillet.
Place pork chops in the bottom of a large baking pan [13" x 9" glass lasagna pan works well].
Drain sauerkraut and reserve half liquid.
Place sauerkraut in a large mixing bowl. Add chunked potatoes and mix well.
Season with salt and pepper as desired.
Spoon sauerkraut and potato mixture over pork chops.
Mix brown sugar with reserved sauerkraut juice and pour over all.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake approximately 35 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake for another ten minutes to lightly brown top.
Serve while hot.

Serves 6.

This makes a meal by itself, or you can add a green salad or green beans.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: December 2 - Holiday Foods


Did your family or ancestors serve traditional  dishes for the holidays? Was there one dish that was unusual?

If my ancestors served anything other than "Americanized" Christmas traditional foods, I have not been made aware of it. I know both of my grandparents served a traditional Christmas dinner each year. There was the usual Christmas turkey or ham, or perhaps a roast goose if one had been killed in the wild. Sweet potatoes, cornbread stuffing, and cranberries.

Were there any unusual dishes? No... you probably couldn't tell there table from any other American's.

Although a few years ago, I decided to break totally from the norm and have a real English Christmas. With some foods my dear hubby had never eaten before. [I had enjoyed these foods, but at different times, never all at the same meal before!]

We had a roast goose. My DH had always heard how greasy a goose was, and therefore would never eat it. So, I proceeded to roast a goose that wasn't greasy. [Ahhh, that marvellous invention that is called the meat rack! It lifts the bird from the roasting pan and allows the fatty juices to drain away!] Needless to say, hubby was quite impressed!
Chestnut dressing topped it off!

We had blood pudding. Of which I simply said "taste and then decide before I tell you what it is!". He ate two helpings. I told him the food he was eating and he promptly said "don't ever do that to me again!" [Oh the power of the mind! LOL]

Corn pudding. No, it's not a real English dish, but it is an American ingredient that was anglicized. That he enjoyed!

We had a boiled plum pudding. With a thick creamy sweet sauce! Oh my! He loved that!

All with herbed boiled potatoes.

We laughed as it wasn't a typical Christmas meal for either of us.... but it was so much fun! [Well, except for the blood pudding! LOL]

Growing up, Mother always served Christmas dinner on her finest china. The table set as if for royalty. I do so miss that! Today we go to my sister's house for the holidays, as that's where my parents now live. Dinner is usually set on paper plates for ease of cleaning up afterwards. And we eat wherever we can find a seat. Spread out about the house.

This year we are going to my youngest brother's house. He and his wife have determined to make the entire meal on their own! [Something we've never done before! It's always been a shared task among the many of us.] So, it will be a different experience for us all!

I am hoping next year we can have a dinner simply here at home, with just our own families. Perhaps meeting up later in the evening for coffee and dessert to exchange gifts. Why? Because I'd like the opportunity to set my table in my china. Have a special meal just for my beloved hubby, and whatever children and grandchildren can make it to our home that day! That would be my wish.

And my greatest joy!

This post is a part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" meme created in 2007 by Thomas and Jasia. You, too, can write your own Christmas memories, either for your personal journal or blog. Visit Geneabloggers to participate and to read others' posts on these topics.